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Four employees laid off at Tacoma chamber; membership and revenue down 20 percent as search continues for a new leader

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on Oct. 29, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
October 29, 2010 12:28 pm

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber this morning announced that four employees have been laid off.

The chamber executive committee made the decision to trim staff because of declining revenues and difficult economic times, said Interim President and CEO Mike Hansch in a telephone interview.

“We have downsized the chamber to reflect the economic conditions of today based on the tough times business is going through, and we hope to build our membership in the future and possibly to be able to bring these people back,” he said

Names of those leaving and the positions they held were not released. Hansch said the chamber website would later reflect which persons are not longer employed.

David Graybill, who headed the chamber for for 27 of its 126 years, announced his retirement in September. Hansch, formerly head of Bank of Tacoma, was named interim leader. A search for a new president and CEO is underway.

After Friday’s announcement, the chamber counts 11 employees. The four who are leaving have been offered severance pay, Hansch said.

“We’re continually revising the budget,” he said. “It looks, from a cash basis, that we will be OK.”

In preparing the budget, he said, “we have programmed in no increase in revenues, to be conservative. We have cut expenses, and we should be at about break-even at year-end.”

Hansch said both revenues and membership at the chamber are down approximately 20 percent over last year.

“It’s a sign of the times,” he said.

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